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How to Grow and Care for Castor Beans

Ricinus communis

This plant grows best with full sun for most of the dayThis plant requires or will tolerate shade during the heat of the dayThis plant will tolerate some drought, but benefits from periodic wateringThis plant needs a thorough, deep weekly watering, Double icons require boggy or wet conditionsSome or all parts of this plant may be toxic or poisonousRed flowering plantGreen flowering plantRicinus communisHow to Use the Plant Care Icons at The Garden Helper
Castor Beans are fast growing, tender perennial shrubs that are capable of growing up to 12 feet in a single season.
In regions where they are grown as an annual plant, they typically grow from 5-8 ft. tall.
Castor Bean plants typically grow one or more, smooth, reddish colored central stalks with very large palmate shaped,
glossy, deep green to dark purple leaves that can grow up to 2 feet wide on mature plants.
In early summer, Castor Bean plants begin producing 1-2 ft. felty clustering
spikes of small, cup shaped, monoecious flowers.
The female flowers are rosy-pink and the male flowers are a pale, greenish-white.
The ornamental, soft-spined fruit that follow the flowers grow to 1¼"-1½"
and are each filled with numerous ¼"-½", glossy, mottled brown seeds that resemble small eggs.
Hank the Garden Gnome All parts and especially the seeds of Castor Bean plants are extremely poisonous if ingested!
Contact with the foliage can generate serious allergic reactions!
Castor Beans may become a weed in some areas!

Growing Requirements for Castor Bean Plants

Castor Bean Plants are only hardy in zones 9-12. In other areas, they are grown as an annual plant.
Castor Beans grow the best and biggest when they are grown in full sun,
but they can also be grown successfully in partial shade.
Plant them 4-5 feet apart in loamy or sandy, well drained soil that has been enriched
with compost or other organic soil amendments at planting time.

Water regularly and thoroughly!
Provide a stake in areas where winds may be a factor.
Castor Bean plants are well suited for growing in large planters and
can even be grown as a house plant if you have bright enough light.

Growing Castor Bean Plants from Seed

Castor Bean seeds can be sown directly into the garden where they are to grow in the spring after all danger of frost has passed.

Sow seeds indoors in moistened growing medium, 6-8 weeks before your last frost date. Maintain a soil temperature of 70°-75° until germination, which only takes 15-20 days. Wait until the weather is well settled and warming before transplanting into the garden.


Castor Bean
Ricinus communis

The Foliage of a Castor Bean Plant A Field of Castor Bean Plants in Bloom Ricinus, Castor Bean Flowers and Seed Pods